Soko shares thoughts on sexuality and new album, “My Dreams Dictate My Reality”

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You may remember out French chanteuse Soko from 2007’s sleeper hit “I’ll Kill Her” which she followed with a five track EP, Not Sokute. She quickly and seemingly effortlessly garnered the kind of cool underground association young performers sell their souls for. Her name was being whispered like a kind of currency in certain scenes the way Uffie’s floated about back in 2005.

In 2009, she came out saying that music was dead, and she was out of the game. Lucky for us this multimedia threat seems to have had a change of heart, she has since released the full length album, I Thought I Was An Alien, and today her sophomore effort, My Dreams Dictate My Reality, drops here in the States, through her own label Babycat Records. We featured the lead lesbian-themed single, “Who Wears The Pants,” in a previous edition of Played Out, and as an indication of the direction this album is headed it’s certainly buzzworthy. I caught up with her this week to talk a bit about the record, to see what comes next and see if I can’t get her to spill any secrets.

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AfterEllen.com: Congratulations on the completion of your second studio album, My Dreams Dictate My Reality, can you talk to us a little about the inception of the album and what is has come to mean to you?

Soko: Every single word and line of this album is charged with so much emotion and meaning. There’s a ghost of my dad’s death everywhere, and how lonely that makes me feel. It talks about my fears of rejection, abandonment, death, judgment, and of my fear of growing old. But, ultimately, it’s trying to come to peace with all of that and just focus on seizing the moment and turning life into the magic you’d want it to be.

 

AE: You got your start in a pretty wide array of creative fields, how do you feel that you’ve matured as a musician and artist to date?

Soko: I’ve definitely become a better musician while recording my last album. I’ve gained a bit of self confidence and trust that if I want to do something, I just have to put my mind into it and with enough work I can accomplish anything I dream of! So I decided to make all my artwork too. I’m so bad at that, but I actually felt like I had to do it. So I got the right person to help me and then it turned from being a chore to being super fun and cutting and pasting all the most meaningful pictures and words of my life all together. I also don’t think of myself as a director, but again, I love making stuff so much and making music videos makes me feel so alive. Thinking of a silly idea and getting to fully make this vision come through is such an incredible feeling, so gratifying. I just like doing everything that’s fun. I don’t see why I should have only one title, that would be forbidding myself of some new learning experience and fun!

 

AE: Can you describe a bit your creative process?

Soko: I don’t know. I just have a million ideas per second. It’s just about catching one and holding on to it tight enough, add a bit of tears, sweat, passion, emotion, real life struggle and some laughter and there you are. You’ve made something unique that reflects completely 100% who you are, with no compromise. I spend so many sleepless nights working. I’m an absolute workaholic. I find nothing more satisfying than being creative and actually getting things done.


AE: Where have you been drawing inspiration from recently, books, movies, tv, traveling, other music. etc?

Soko: Mostly all the fucked up stuff. Anxiety, mixed up emotions, heartbreak, pains, panic attacks invading my mind. There’s a lot of crazy voices up there unable to go on living if I don’t write down what they have to say. So I’m a slave to my haunted head, a slave to my emotions, and doomed to live with the weight of being  born hyper-sensitive.

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AE: Where is your home base these days? And how do you relate to it?

Soko: I guess LA is my home base because that’s where my storage unit is. I’ve been living out of my suitcase for so long, I don’t even know where my head’s at. I can’t recall the last time I had a whole bed to myself that I didn’t have to share with a friend I was crashing with. Seriously. A good 10 hour sleep by myself right now, in a king size bed would be the ultimate dream. I run on four hours of sleep a night, it’s no wonder I cry everyday! I’m fucking exhausted and need some space and I’m surrounded by people that I’m crashing with all the time. We’re talking about friends that I love so(oooo) much, of course, and they keep me inspired, grounded and creative. But everyone needs their own quiet moment at some point, and I haven’t had that luxury in way too long. And with this tour coming up it’s about to get worse! I need a hug! Then again the one good thing about being always surrounded by people, is that there’s always one person you can go get a hug from!

 

AE: How do you feel that your sexuality influences your music?

Soko: I don’t think it does. I don’t think sexuality defines an individual. I don’t think my music would be any different if I was 100% straight.

 

AE: What does queer visibility mean to you, and is it important that those of us with a voice use it publicly?

Soko: I don’t really know, to be honest. I don’t think too much about it. I just live my life very confident of who I am and disregarding fully what narrow minded people may think of my choices. And yes, I of course love that other people live their love fully and unafraid of the world. But that goes towards any kind of love.

 

AE: What comes next for you?

Soko: Going on tour for a bit. I’m so excited about that. Playing shows is what makes me feel the most alive. Then I have a full year of shooting movies ahead of me. Which promises to be challenging and interesting and a good learning experience. And I’m also going to be directing more music videos.

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AE: Is there a dream bill you’d love to see your name on?

Soko: Soko + The Smiths + The Cure + Depeche Mode + Felt + The Stranglers + The Only Ones + Richard Hell.

 

AE: Tell us one thing we wouldn’t be able to find out about you even through a big internet lurk.

Soko: I wake up to pee at least three times a night. And I cuddle anyone who is next to me in my sleep.

 

For more on Soko or to buy the album head over to her websiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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